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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Parody name of the game

    Bobby Stover - Sports Editor
    Bobby Stover – Sports Editor

    Bobby’s World

    It’s just baseball.

    That simple phrase is quite often the only conceivable explanation for the sport’s ridiculous nature.

    In no other sport can momentum swing so rapidly. It can happen in the matter of a series, an inning, even on a single pitch. One hanging curveball can send one team to a championship while sending the other to the showers.

    In baseball, there is no time limit, the only restriction is outs and giving a team one extra could mean a season.

    In the 2003 NLCS game six between Chicago and Florida, shortstop Alex Gonzalez muffed what appeared to be an easy double play ball with the Cubs leading 3-1 in the eighth inning. Seven Marlins’ runs later, the momentum and the series shifted in favor of Florida leaving the ailing Cubs heartbroken yet again.

    But not all of baseball’s drastic momentum shifts occur in the blink of an eye; some occur over a lengthy period of time. With the length of a baseball season being so great, fans and players alike tend to get lost in a team’s slump early in the year only to realize later that suddenly that team sits atop the conference or division standings.

    For instance, in 2007 the New York Yankees found themselves eight games under .500 heading into June only to find themselves atop the Wildcard standings heading into October.

    The reverse happened for the New York Mets who lead their division with under 20 games remaining. But after losing 12 of their final 17, the Mets were forced to watch their rivals from Philadelphia bask in the playoffs.

    So what does this mean for this year’s Arizona baseball team? The 25-11 Wildcats are currently riding a 10-game winning streak while picking up their first conference sweep of the season this past weekend against Washington State. All this came after a disastrous tail end of March in which formerly No.1 Arizona compiled an embarrassing 3-10 record.

    Recently the team is not only returning to the form it had during its 12-1 ride to start the season, but Arizona may even be arriving at a level unheard of yet this season.

    Although the team’s batting average – currently .293 – is down from .339 during the team’s first 11 games, the Wildcats’ defense has never looked sharper.

    In last weekends’ sweep of the Cougars, Arizona committed only one errorÿ- a pleasant surprise for a team which currently averages 1.6 errors per game.

    “”Anytime you can look up and see zeros underneath the error column, it’s definitely a good feeling,”” said infielder Brad Glenn.

    “”We’ve played some clean defense lately,”” head coach Andy Lopez added. “”It’s been real consistent pitching with some defense and a couple timely hits.””

    To compliment Arizona’s currently hot gloves, the pitching staff has done little to hurt the Wildcats momentum.

    Of Arizona’s five pitchers with five or more starts, each holds a winning record while three carry an ERA below 3.40.

    The Wildcats’ main weapons out of the bullpen – Daniel Schlereth (1-0) and Jason Stoffel (2-1) – have also been dominant as both players’ ERAs are well below 3.00.

    But still, the question begs asking, where did this sudden change in form come from? How did the team once dropped entirely from the national rankings after losing six straight and 10 of 13 suddenly pump out 10 wins in a row?

    There really can be no other explanation than the name of the game. That’s baseball.

    That’s the sport that saw the Colorado Rockies win 21 of 22 games to land the franchise in its first World Series, only to see its dreams swept away in four straight.

    The game is funny, sometimes strange, but always unique.

    “”That’s the great thing about baseball,”” said UA shortstop Bryce Ortega. “”No matter what happens one day, you have to put it behind you and the next day anything can happen.””

    College baseball’s season remains far from over while only bigger challenges await the Wildcats. And in a game in which momentum changes on the swing of a bat, more questions than answers still surround the Arizona team.

    But for now, with Arizona’s prestigious rankings gone, the winning has returned. What a perfect example of this ironic game we know as baseball.

    Bobby Stover is an engineering sophomore. He can be reached at Sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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